Thousands Southeast Asian Digital Manuscripts Now Available Online

Gods, birds, and trees; Variation in illustrated Javanese pawukon manuscripts
February 6, 2020
DREAMSEA Repository – DS0011 00017

Jakarta, DREAMSEA – At present, digitised pages of manuscripts from a variety of Southeast Asian cultures have been made available online. The public can read these digital manuscripts on the Open Access website https://dreamsea.co after clicking on REPOSITORY menu. The digitised manuscripts and the Open Access website have been made available by the program Digital Repository of Endangered and Affected Manuscripts in Southeast Asia (DREAMSEA).

DREAMSEA Repository – Search Option

In this first stage, high resolution images of 593 manuscripts containing 20,129 pages have been made available along with the metadata. They originate from three different collections. The first part is the legacy of the Kingdom of Buton in Baubau (Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia), the second collections of a Muslim community in Kuningan (West Java, Indonesia), and the third is a collection manuscripts of Buddhist monks in Luang Prabang (Laos).

According to DREAMSEA’s Data Manager, Muhammad Nida’ Fadlan, the Repository is the main product of a series of activities to safeguard endangered manuscripts in Southeast Asia. These activities comprise cleaning, preserving and digitising manuscripts that form the cultural inheritance of local communities, up to making the images available through open online access.

DREAMSEA Return Physical Manuscripts – Luang Prabang

“The physical manuscripts will remain with their owners who will take care of them and preserve them. The Repository has been created to ensure that the contents of these manuscripts will be secured to avoid them from becoming lost and to provide access to the public for academic and non-commercial interests”, Nida said.

DREAMSEA has executed 15 digitisation missions in 2018-2019 and managed to safe the contents of 57 collections in 18 cities in Indonesia, Laos and Thailand. Up to now, 118,995 manuscript pages have been digitised and step by step they will be made available in our Repository to the public.

DREAMSEA is a program to preserve endangered manuscripts in Southeast Asia and is executed by the Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) Jakarta and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) of the University of Hamburg. The digital Repository has been set up in cooperation with the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) in Minnesota, US. The program is supported by the Arcadia Foundation, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin in England with the main mission to preserve cultural heritage, protect the environment, and promote open access around the world.

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